Safekids Logo

1000 SW Jackson Suite 230
Topeka, KS 66612-1274
(785) 296-1223
(785) 296-8649 (FAX)

Jan Stegelman

Executive Committee:
Randall Bolin

Dennis Cooley, MD
Medical Advisor
American Academy of
Pediatrics, Kansas

John Drees
Douglas County
SAFE KIDS Coalition

John Halbran
Kansas Safety Belt
Education Office

Jim Keating
Kansas State
Firefighters Association

Elena Nuss
Kansas State
Fire Marshal's Office

Cindy Samuelson
Kansas Hospital Association

For Immediate Release:
April 20, 2007

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

April 23-27 is Playground Safety Week

Safe Kids Kansas recommends playgrounds with soft surfaces

Each year, more than 200,000 children in the United States are treated in emergency rooms for injuries involving playground equipment and approximately 10 die. Falls account for 80 percent of playground injuries; however, most playground fatalities are caused by strangulation and occur in a family’s yard, not on public property.

National Playground Safety Week is April 23-27, and Safe Kid Kansas joins the National Program for Playground Safety in urging parents and caregivers to help make sure children have safe places to play.

“Nothing can take the place of active supervision, but we do need to make sure our kids are playing in safe environments in the first place,” says Jan Stegelman, Safe Kids Kansas coordinator. “Playground equipment should be labeled with a minimum age, and it should be surrounded by a protective surface.”

Grass and soil are not good playground surfaces. “The ground should be covered 12 inches deep with shredded rubber, hardwood fiber mulch, pea gravel or fine sand, extending at least six feet in all directions around the equipment,” says Stegelman. “It won’t prevent falls, but it can prevent injuries or reduce their severity.”

Even nonfatal injuries from playground falls can be very serious. “A child who falls 10 feet is at risk of spinal cord injury, paralysis and death, and a child who falls about 5 feet is four times as likely to be injured as a child who falls from a lower height,” says Stegelman.

Parents and caregivers need to keep kids in sight and in reach on the playground. “Simply being in the same place as your child isn’t necessarily supervising,” says Stegelman. “Kids on a playground need your undivided attention.”

Safe Kids Kansas also reminds parents and caregivers to:

  • Make sure playground equipment is inspected frequently and kept in good repair.
  • Remove hood and neck drawstrings from children’s clothing and outerwear and do not allow kids to wear helmets, necklaces, purses or scarves on the playground.
  • Don’t allow your kids to engage in or play near, any pushing, shoving or crowding around playground equipment.
  • Keep toddlers under age 5 in a separate play area, fenced off from equipment designed for older kids.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission handbook on playground equipment and surfacing is available at or 800- 638-2772. For more information about playground safety, visit

Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of 67 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14. Local coalitions and chapters are located in Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Nemaha, Osage, Pottawatomie, Republic, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, Norton, Pittsburg, the Wichita Area and the Metro Kansas City Area. Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide , a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury.